People bid high to help missions throughout the world

This year, it was an honor to sit by Esther Heatwole, longtime volunteer wrangler for CrossRoads MarketPlace, the well-known fair trade store and second hand emporium run for the benefit of the Mennonite Central Committee’s charitable enterprises all over the world. The front half of the store in La Junta features the handicrafts of people throughout the third world at fair trade prices; the back is a first-rate secondhand store, as many can affirm, which supplies items not offered elsewhere in our moderately small community of La Junta, at a fraction of their original cost.

Heatwole kept us informed of the auctioneers, the first two at least — Jim Brenneman and Dan Yoder — and hung in there until she accomplished her goal — winning the bid on a table runner made by the niece of her late husband, Franklin Heatwole. “I didn’t expect to pay $300,” said Esther, “But oh well.” The prices paid often had little to do with the actual value of the items. A quilt by Mary Yoder, a revered church member, went for $1,150. It was all white and beautifully quilted with a heart motif, but one could sense it was the fact that it was made by Mary Yoder that made it so dear.

A stirring performance of the "Doxology," sung in parts with beautiful harmony, started the sale, and the first quilt was offered in the name of peace throughout the world, with no physical quilt purchased, but bids of $1,000 (two bids), $500 (four bids), $250 (four bids), $200 (three bids), $100 (seven bids), $75 (two bids), $50 (12 bids). The first regular quilt was introduced by Carolyn Stutzman, renowned nurse and widow of the late Dr. Howard Stutzman. It was a small crib quilt and brought a nice price at $100. The first quilt which sold for a high price was the Tuscan Quilt donated by Dr. Ann Richards of Casa Del Sol at $500. Eighty-six quilts were sold in all, some from Mennonite quilting groups in Pennsylvania, Albuquerque, or other places across the country. Many were offered by those who had bought them originally at a similar sale. The object was to support the missions of the Mennonite Church to help the poor and needy throughout the world.

The Mennonite relief sale also featured bierocks (cabbage and sausage-stuffed bread rolls), baked goods of all sorts, handcrafts and decorations, aprons, household items and one-of-a-kind Christmas ornaments. Two tractors were auctioned, a John Deere for $1,950, and a Ford antique tractor for $1,800, “People are generous,” said Heatwole. They had in mind peace in the world and helping those in need, not personal gain.